View Full Version : Light loads.....

Dave McC
July 29, 2001, 07:29 AM
We do not always need a heavy,possibly hard kicking max dram load in our shotguns. Nor do we need one for most clay games, getting new shooters started and expecially when training our kids and spouses.

Those that read the thread on my getting my Son started may have noted that he now has a 12 ga, but the loads were handloads worked down to 7/8 oz and a bit less powder. Velocity was around 1200 FPS.

Those loads still managed to kick him a bit, so I'm off shortly to Guns R Us to pick up a 3/4 oz charge bar for the MEC.Meanwhile, for the sake of learning, I tried a few rounds of those 7/8 loads for trap. I dropped a few birds, the lighter loads seem to pattern terribly tight, but if I were on the clay, it exploded just like with my usual load.

FYI, International Trap is shot with a charge weight of 24 grams, slightly less than 3/4 oz.

Recoil with either of these is negligeable to an experienced shotgunner. And, with the lighter guns and loads new shooters need, the kick is still quite manageable. The load approximates a 28 ga field load,perfect in many folks' opinions for a light upland gun and a fast and humane killer on birds smaller than pheasants when used within 30 yards.

The CAS folks use loads like these for their shotgun matches,and no one seems to mind they're on the light side.

If you're helping a new shooter get started, or need a lighter load yourself for any kind of practice, you may want to consider reloading these. I'll probably go with the 7/8 oz load myself for trap, the idea of getting 2 more boxes of shells out of a 25 lb bag of shot appeals to me. More shooting, same money.


Stick to published data.Watch the pressure signs and listen to the report.

I'm shooting 8 1/2s for targets. I'll go down to 9s for these loads to bring the pellet count up a trifle.

And loads this light are basically for inaminate objects. There's no parallel here to ultralight fishing, a bird or ground game critter hit with too light a load suffers, something no ethical hunter wants.


July 29, 2001, 08:24 AM
Instead of wasting money on a collection of charge bars, try a universal bar.

I have them on all of my MEC 9000's and they work far better than the single weight bars that come with the MEC.

A real problem with smaller gauges is that the bar often throws too much shot and the cases do not crimp properly. Thie is very acute with 28 GA. With the universal bar you can get exact charge weights with each size shot.

Also the powder bushings never throw what the chart says they do. The universal bar allows adjustment down to fractions of a grain. More acurazte loading is the result. And the charge weights are easy to change without taking the machine apart.

My $.02

Oh yeah, light loads are cool too. :)

Geoff Ross

Gary H
July 29, 2001, 02:25 PM
Some claim that slow powders and certain wads also make things a bit easier on the shoulder. I'm still putting together my reloading bench, so I have no direct knowledge regarding this subject. I'm going to get the Universal Charge Bar for my MECs.

Dave McC
July 29, 2001, 06:16 PM
I think the Universal Bar is a great idea. But, this one came with three bars, and unless I start loading steel, I'm now set for everything but waterfowl and turkey loads. 1 1/4 tp 3/4 oz, quite a spread...

That includes 20 and 28 gauge shot loads. I'd need new powder bushings, tho.

If I were starting from Square One, I'd get the UCB PDQ....

As for claims that X powder and Y wad are less kicking than Wad A and Powder B, same charge, same velocity, I'm dubious. Newton's Laws of Motion have no brand loyalty. It's strictly M X V =E.

Gary H
July 29, 2001, 10:00 PM

The theory behind these seems much like the explanation of why the semi-auto results in less felt recoil. Both wad and powder can be designed to do their thing over a longer, or shorter period of time. So, the laws of physics are not ignored, but the forces felt over a longer period of time. These things have been argued for years, so if true, the result must be subtle. Also, I doubt that the difference in burn time between fast and slow powders, or collapse time for various wads can be measured in anything but milliseconds. Such a short period of time would not be detectable by a shooter. The recoil time for the semi-auto action is much slower. My remarks were a fishing expedition, seeing if anyone took the bait and provided their experience with regards to the subject.

Dave McC
July 30, 2001, 06:02 AM
Let me get this hook outa my jaw, Gary(G)....

In theory, a slower burning powder that moves the pressure spike a bit further down the bbl, thus spreading pressures a little further may reduce kick some infinitesimal amount, but I defy any shotgunner to distinguish that load from others by feel.

Semi autos that are gas powered split up the kick into smaller kicks. There's a better explanatioon than I can give in Brister's(funny how often that name comes up) book.

I've had fans of other semi autos tell me about reduced kick. Mostly, it's A-5 owners, and A-5s are not the lightest shotguns out there. Funny thing, if the recoil is more controlled and "Lighter" with an A-5, why can a decent pumpshocker get off a second shot faster than an A-5-er?

But we're digressing here. With luck, and no work this PM, Son and his little shotgun and loads will be trying trap for the first time today. Wish us both luck.


Gary H
July 30, 2001, 09:48 AM
"Shotgunning, The Art and the Science" by Bob Brister is where I read about this stuff. Of course, a major reduction in felt recoil can be had by increasing the weight of the gun.

Brister's book was written in 75 - 76. On page 259 of the hardback, he has a picture of Dan Bonillas of Los Banos and calls him "one of the greatest trapshooters of all time". I did a search on the Internet for Bonillas and at least as of last year, he was still winning big time. Amaaaazing...

Dave McC
July 30, 2001, 12:07 PM
No shotgunning fan can go without Brister. Here's a man that can do AND teach, and a researcher of all that pertains to Wingshooting. I saw him in a magazine not long ago, he was still outshooting most folks at Sporting Clays and having fun. Bless him...

If he gets out a new book, an update as it were, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, and know w/o looking it's not a rehash.

On the way to the range, wish us luck...